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Saturday, Jun 19, 2021

UK PM Johnson being investigated by standards watchdog over $21,000 Caribbean holiday

UK PM Johnson being investigated by standards watchdog over $21,000 Caribbean holiday

The UK Parliament’s standards watchdog has officially launched an investigation over the funding of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Caribbean holiday to determine if he broke the code of conduct for MPs.
Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in the House of Commons, announced the probe via a new list of investigations published on Monday.

The PM and his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, flew to the private island of Mustique, part of St Vincent and the Grenadines, in 2019 after Johnson’s Conservative Party won a majority in the general election.

In a register of interests in 2020, Johnson said the businessman David Ross, a major Tory Party donor, had paid for his accommodation on the island, worth £15,000 ($21,000).

Initially, Ross denied paying for Johnson, but later said he had “facilitated” accommodation for the prime minister and that the declaration was correct.

The watchdog investigation into the register of interests related to the trip was launched in March of last year, but only officially confirmed by the watchdog on Monday.

Recently altered parliamentary rules meant that Stone was on Monday able to publish a list of allegations against MPs she is currently investigating.

In relation to Johnson, she said her office is probing his “registration of interest under Category 4 of the Guide to the rules [Visits outside the UK] in 2020.”

This means the inquiry is looking at whether he breached Paragraph 14 of the MPs’ code of conduct, which says interests must be declared “conscientiously”, and that members must be “open and frank” with the House of Commons.

The opposition Labour Party has also asked Stone to look into how the recent refurbishment of Johnson’s official Downing Street flat in Westminster was paid for.

The Electoral Commission is already investigating whether the Conservative Party covered the costs of the £58,000 ($82,000) makeover before Johnson eventually put up the cash himself.
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